DANSVILLE — For a special ceremony the Dansville American Legion, Sons of American Legion, and VFW gathered to honor a famous Civil War Hero.
Jerry Wall received the Congressional Medal of Honor at the end of The Civil War for his brave acts at the Battle of Gettysburg. Wall was a hero as he bravely took on a Confederate soldier in the heat of battle for the Union flag. He was part of the Company 126th NY Infantry, which was made up of volunteers with very little training.
Wall was born in Geneva on July 1, 1841 and died in Dansville on July 27, 1930. He spent his life in Dansville after the war, and was drawn to the work being done on the canal here.
Tammy Morabito, Wall’s fourth-great-granddaughter, was at the rededication ceremony of the Jerry Wall tombstone on Nov. 11 at Greenmount Cemetery.
“He was a Union soldier in the Army who crawled across the battlefield and captured the flag,” she said. “This is how he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor.”
Morabito said that the family carries on the proud military tradition as most of them have been in the service.
“They were looking to do this ceremony in March. They needed a replica made of the actual medal,” she said. “They reached out to me a couple of months ago, and told me they had the medal. I was asked if we would be willing to come down. I am so honored they are doing this for him.”
The replica of the Medal of Honor is on display at the Dansville American Legion. For Veterans’ Day they rededicated the tombstone and bronze plaque to honor Jerry Wall.
“The whole goal was to find any living relative of Jerry Wall,” Scott Kenney, SAL commander, said. “They died out after one generation. Everyone here today including myself are all descendants of Margaret Goho Wall, who was Jerry’s wife. She had children before she married Jerry, and the child they had together died out after one generation. All of the people you see here are actually related to Margaret Goho.”
Kenney said that they wanted to have any living member of the family line at this ceremony. Wall’s step children continued the line we have today.
“What was interesting to me personally is that as we got into this project for the Legion I realized a lot of the family were my cousins,” he said. “My grandmother was a McLane, and they come from the Goho line. I found out I am just as much related to Jerry Wall as the rest of them. My cousin, Don McLane is the family historian, and he helped out a lot with this project.”
Wall moved to Dansville shortly after the war to work as a “slater” putting on stone roofs. He would become a nurseryman later on in life. Wall married a young widow, Margaret Goho Freed of Scottsburg, who lost her first husband, Solomon Freed in the battlefield. She had three children, Laura, Henry, and Byron. The Wall’s would have two children of their own, Anna and Millard. Sadly, this direct line ended after one generation. The line is carried on through the three stepchildren.
Former Dansville Historian Wilfred Rauber wrote a piece on Jerry Wall called, “Dansville’s Little Jerry Wall played big Civil War role.”
“He looked too young to be marching off to war, this recruit named Jerry Wall who enlisted in Company B, 126th New York Volunteers on July 30, 1862. Five feet four inches and weighing only 100 pounds - even the recruiting officer was inclined to doubt he was actually 21 years old,” Rauber wrote. “It followed naturally that Jerry would be nicknamed “Shorty” and subjected In good-natured kicking during his military career but in the serious business of fighting a war he would show them all that every inch of his ‘five foot four” was packed with courage and patriotism. Furthermore, he would be awarded the Medal of Honor (sometimes called Congressional Medal of Honor) highest award the United States can bestow on a military person.”